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Most businesses don’t have a strategy for hybrid work, AT&T survey finds

Most businesses don’t have a strategy for hybrid work, AT&T survey finds
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A new survey from AT&T, Dubber and Incisiv shows that hybrid work, or a mix of in-person and remote work, is expected to become the “standard operating model across industries” within two years, rather than being viewed as an employee perk.

More than 80% of the businesses surveyed believe that slightly more than half of work (56%) will be done off-site. Incisiv conducted the survey of more than 300 U.S.-based companies across five industries (retail, energy, healthcare, manufacturing, and banking/finance) representing more than 1 million employees, in October and November of 2021.

During 2021, due to the global pandemic, only 24% of the survey respondents’ employees were working on-site.

However, 72% of the surveyed businesses still don’t have a detailed hybrid work strategy, and there is tension between what the companies want versus what their employees want: 86% believe their employees want hybrid work, but 64% says their executives prefer work to happen on-premise.

Gaurav Pant, who is co-founder and chief insights officer of Incisiv, said that Covid-19 has been “the single most transformative event in shaping the future of work. … Firms needs to upgrade their employee technology stack and undergo a cultural reset to prepare for this new normal.”

Hybrid work is seen as helping to attract young employees, and nearly 80% of respondents said that they believe hybrid work will drive increased productivity—however, there are concerns about losing company culture and collaboration, with 45% of respondents saying that they believe that hybrid work does not support innovation.

Survey participants said that “lack of workplace innovation”, insufficient oversight and cultural shifts were barriers to successful hybrid work — but AT&T and Incisiv said that by investing in strategy, applying technology and putting effort into building company culture remotely, those factors could be overcome.

“There’s been a non-reversible shift in the way business is done thanks to the constraints of COVID-19. It’s clear that a successful talent program now requires a hybrid work policy, but that policy needs to be supported by a strategic tech-first cultural reset, to ensure business growth and competition,” said Alicia Dietsch, SVP of AT&T business marketing, in a statement on the survey results. “Firms need to ask themselves if they have the in-house expertise to achieve this, or whether it’s now time to go beyond a partner in remote infrastructure rollout to a partner in tech-first remote business strategy.”

Leading from that, Steve McGovern, CEO of Dubber, described how his company’s “conversational intelligence” service, provided by AT&T, enables organizations to “capture every conversation and turn them into data and seamlessly share insights.” He added, “Knowing and understanding how employees are performing and, indeed, their general welfare can have significant impacts on how businesses manage this hybrid workplace environment. This can be achieved via immediate customer insight including, for example, real-time sentiment analytics. AI makes it possible to mine this vast treasure trove of information.”

“Businesses moved with urgency to distance employees. Now they need to do the same when it comes to deploying the tools needed to overcome distance,” he added.

Read more about the survey in an AT&T blog post here.

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Kelly reports on network test and measurement, as well as the use of big data and analytics. She first covered the wireless industry for RCR Wireless News in 2005, focusing on carriers and mobile virtual network operators, then took a few years’ hiatus and returned to RCR Wireless News to write about heterogeneous networks and network infrastructure. Kelly is an Ohio native with a masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, where she focused on science writing and multimedia. She has written for the San Francisco Chronicle, The Oregonian and The Canton Repository. Follow her on Twitter: @khillrcr

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